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Giants Pitcher Brian Wilson's "Quirkiness" is His Christian Witness

Teresa Neumann-Commentary : Nov 5, 2010 : Jason Turbow - The New York Times

Brian Wilson is reaching more people by simply being himself—in a career God has placed him—than I may ever dream of reaching in an entire lifetime.

(San Francisco, Ca.)—It appears some people's Christian witness, or testimony, can consist of little more than just being themselves, especially if it involves a personality that can only be described as "quirky." Case in point? Brian Wilson of the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants.

Fear the Beard bannerWilson has back-packed through Ireland and India and on a radio show last summer claimed to be a "certified ninja and a mental assassin." (Photo: NYTimes)

A recent report in The New York Times read: "Relief pitchers have tended to be odd, with closers typically occupying the far end of that spectrum. Brian Wilson, the San Francisco Giants' closer, is one of the oddest. Start with the easy stuff, like his physical appearance. There's the hair, part mohawk and part mullet; the tattoos; and the perpetually unbuttoned jersey ... And there is his preternaturally black beard—dyed several shades darker than the rest of his hair with what appears to be industrial-grade shoe polish."

Bill Neukom, the Giants' managing general partner and chief executive, said of Wilson, "He has an outsized personality, but he never brags about himself."

According to the NYT report, Wilson "has created some controversy with the cross-armed salute he offers up at the rear of the mound after every save. The gesture has been taken by some opposing players as a sign of disrespect."

Brian WilsonBut in July of 2008, in an interview with Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News, Wilson said: "One of the main things I do after a game is the crossing of the arms. When I cross my arms, I have my left hand in the fist and my right hand goes underneath pointing with my (index) finger. What I've taken into my own belief is that this finger represents one man. I'm that one person. And I can only go so far in life leaning on my own understandings and my own strength. The fist represents the power of the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The fist is symbolic of a circle. It's never-ending. This strength will only continue to grow. So here's the strength of God and the strength of man. And without Him, I am nothing. I can only go so far in this life. But when I cross, I now have this one person with the strength of Christ, and I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me. I can get over any battles in life. (Photo: The Bleacher Report)

"So I basically give respect to the ultimate fighting world and I also give respect to Christ, the audience of one that I play for. I don't play for anything else. I play to impress Him and only Him, and I must honor Him through defeat and also successes, because I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the strength that He gives me. Talent only goes so far."

Asked why he chooses to make the gesture at the end of the game, he replied, "It's not for showboating. What more perfect time to display my faith than at the end of a game?"

Researching Brian Wilson's biography has reminded me, yet again, of the dangers of "judging a book by its cover." Hopefully, the next time I see someone who looks, or behaves, outside of the proverbial "box" I'll have the heart of the Lord, instead of a heart of surprise that they could be a Christian. After all, Brian Wilson is reaching more people by simply being himself—in a career God has placed him—than I may ever dream of reaching in an entire lifetime.



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